Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Author: Emily X. R. Pan

Genre: Contemporary, magical realism

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on March 20th, 2018

Content Warning: Depression, suicide, death of a parent

Format I Read: Hardcover

Grade: Outstanding

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, this is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

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Book Review – Definitions of Indefinable Things

Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things

Author: Whitney Taylor

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Published: By HMH Books for Young Readers on April 4th, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


(adapted from Goodreads)

Reggie Mason believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in. She encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.


Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

I liked this book but found it difficult even though I finished it in one sitting. It was very different from what I usually go for and at the very least, it gave me a unique perspective on mental health. I’m not sure how critical I can be because this isn’t up my alley – some parts worked for me while some parts didn’t. Overall, an interesting read that I wish I could have enjoyed more.

Read the detailed review here.


I would recommend the book to people who like a fairly accurate representation of mental health issues (depression in this case).

For the food, I would recommend ice cream again as the main character works on an ice cream truck (Okay, it’s scorching hot here and I use any excuse I can get to wolf down some ice cream). In terms of music, some really soft piano music would do the trick, like Debussy.


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